Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Wonderland? I THINK NOT!!!

Well, like the other 150,000+ people in Northwest Arkansas, we spent the last 24 hours without power. Yay. Sense my sarcasm? Nah, not me! :0D are a few pics taken from a couple days before and then some taken during the outage. We DO have a fire place to keep warm by....that is a huge blessing as so many people do not have an alternate heat source and even gas heat requires electricity to run. We still don't have water....(not sure where it is frozen at b/c we emptied the lines of all water when the electric went out in hopes to avoid frozen and/or busted pipes). I also consider myself pretty innovative when it comes to redneck survival tactics. I actually cooked a hot meal over the fire in our fireplace. I like cast iron skillets, and those are versatile enough to lay (literally) right on the burning logs/hot coals. The only thing was that I'm not so wise in cooking HEALTHY meals this way. Maybe chicken breast, but as those were frozen rock solid, that didn't seem to be an option. Instead, we had sausage, made-from-scratch biscuits, gravy, and pork-n-beans. (by the time the biscuits and gravy were done, the sausages were getting cold and we didn't want to wait on eggs, so just heated up the beans....dear hubby's idea-we had his sister and her husband here so needed to stretch the meal a bit further) It was really rather tasty. AND we didn't catch anything on fire, lol!

Without further ado....the pics.

Someone had to keep us laughing! Before you think J's sis is TOTALLY crazy, these are those LED tea light candles. No real flames, although the flash from the camera made it look that way. I took one without the flash, but it was just too dark.

Fine dining by candlelight

Hey! You can see my "Tomato Red" wall in the background....we don't have stuff back on the walls, yet, though. Also, to the left is my yellow wall.

Junior just being Junior

Coloring by candlelight while waiting on dinner

Chestnuts (I mean sausage) roasting on an open fire......

Ah....this is the ice, yesterday before noon....before the lights went out. Yep. That's about an inch on the power lines. We received another inch+ over the evening and nighttime hours.

These are VERY tall trees....normally.

Close-up of our Wedding Tree

This was taken last Sat. I actually had a day where I was able to get some things accomplished at home like painting, laundry, etc. J said we just HAD to go see these eagles down the road. Well, when we got there they were gone, so we stopped off at this dried up creek bed and played/froze! It was fun, though! Here are just a few pics we took....
The above is J and Junior kicking around some Arkansas sand (aka silt...very fine and pretty!)

The girls in their "cave" LOL!

J gives a science lesson on the ages of some of the dirt layers. The girls are fascinated....for a minute! :0)

We found a few REAL caves, although didn't go exploring....this one appears to belong to a LARGE animal, which I don't care to disturb!!!

This is a trip we took to a local nursing home last week with our 4H group. The kids had made crocheted hangers and cards, and handed out baggies of chex mix. It was a WONDERFUL time and genuine connections were made by the girls. We are looking into the "Adopt a Grandparent" program.
These lovely ladies didn't want to play cards but INSISTED on WATCHING a card the ballerina and her friend aimed to please!

Junior gave out LOTS of hugs....some people requested seconds, LOL! We realized how much hugging our family does on a daily basis, yet these folks may go weeks/months with one single hug. What a priceless and effortless gift to give.
Trying to enjoy some warmer weather with friends a couple of days before the ice storm came in.
Poor Dash got caught with no shoes!

So. Those of you who endured/are enduring the ice storm....what did you do? If nothing else, I pray you are all staying warm!!!



Sunday, January 18, 2009


Stewardship is the accountability of what one is entrusted with.

I've been pondering for quite some time the term stewardship. We've all heard this word in sermons/Bible studies, etc., but what does it really involve? How we handle our finances? Our material possessions? Our time? Is that all? What if there is more? I came to the realization that when God required us to be good stewards of ALL THAT HE'S GIVEN US, He didn't really put a limit on what that involves. It isn't just one specific thing, or even a handful of specific things, but ALL THINGS. I believe He is leading me to focus on a particular few this year, and so my "theme" for the year is STEWARDSHIP. Last year's theme was SIMPLIFY and I felt that with God's help and by listening to the Spirit's heeding, I have actually accomplished that and learned what it truly means. It means that even though it's hard to say no to some things and even though I really want to do this or that or allow my children to pick up a certain extra activity, I must consider the cost to my family life/time, my marriage, my time with God, and my mental, emotional, and physical well-being as well as that of my children and husband. Sometimes you just HAVE to say NO....then walk away and don't look back. I feel like I have learned that this will be an ongoing lesson. By focusing on it for so long, though, I am much more aware and don't spout off the "Yes!" that used to slide off the tongue so easily.

The particular few things that I feel led to focus on my stewardship skills with are my health, my time (especially that spent with my family), and my home. As I mentioned in a previous post, it's not a "Weight loss resolution" but a call to be healthier and reflect that to my children. Our bodies are a gift from God....a loan, if you will. If Jesus knocked on your door and asked you to take care of His very special, delicate glass rose (or whatever you need to imagine to get the point), how would you handle it? You already know! That thing would be wrapped in the finest tissue and shrink wrap and cleaned daily, maybe several times a day, and be the best cared for item/thing you ever came across. There would be no limit to what I would do to take care of something that Jesus personally entrusted me with. Well, isn't that what my body is? A gift/loan that God has entrusted me with? If I can't be a good steward of my body, then how can He trust me with anything more? So. I am conscious now. I have, in the past, been a very healthy and health conscious person...exercising daily and always active. When/where/why that changed isn't really important I suppose and is really hard to pinpoint anyway. I can make up a thousand excuses and even if they are all totally understandable, they are still just that- excuses.

My time. Time is so elusive for me. I always feel like there can never be enough hours in the day. I've often thought that I would ask God when we get to heaven why He chose to make a day only 24 just isn't enough! Or is it? I needed to re-examine what was taking up so much of my time. All good, understandable things, but where would they rank with God? How important are they to Him? Are they holy? Pure?

Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.

This is something I have striven (yes, that is actually a word!) to teach my girls for many years. So, that being said....I have ruled out a lot of computer time, and although I'm not much of one for t.v., I even managed to weed some of that out, too. Do I have "enough" time now? It doesn't always feel like it. But that's when I feel a warm breeze come over me, my shoulders relax, and I hear God telling me to sit back a moment and enjoy life, my children, and all the beauty that surrounds me. It's His gift to me....created to delight me, a love gift. It seriously feels like a warm hug straight from the Father.

My home. Oh geesh. Once upon a time I was a perfectionist, OCD if you will, and now it seems I'm the extreme opposite. When my oldest daughter was 7 and having difficulty at school because of her "perfectionism" (quote from the teacher) I realized what I had unintentionally projected upon my children. A life of chains...the bondage of feeling like everything you do must be perfect or it doesn't count. I didn't want that for them, so I learned to loosen up and tried to teach her that as well, before she got too much older. She's 13 now, and if you looked at her room, you may never believe me! LOL
I know there's a happy medium between perfectionism and total chaos. I found it via flylady once. Her methods really do work. Why I got away from it, I can't really pinpoint, but I did. I don't like scheduling our time according to the hour of the clock. The reason for that is that when my schedule says we are supposed to be doing something at 9am, and at 8:59 the kids aren't changing gears, I get REALLY FRUSTRATED, and that affects all of us. It sets a bad tone for the rest of the day. I wanna be happy. I want a home that is full of comfort, joy, peace, happiness, the love of the Lord and people. That can't happen in the midst of frustration. I prefer "routine" vs. "schedule" although I do feel it is important for my children to learn good work ethics, so we do have set times to get up and around...more blocked than "every 15 minutes" or whatever.

So....if I take too long to reply to an email, or my posts are few and far between for a while, you know why. I'm following God's leading. I'm searching His word. I'm reinstating my morning routine, good health habits, and stopping to smell the roses that are my children as they grow up so quickly, and the husband of my youth, as we grow old(er) together. :0)

Thank you to all that have been posting about trying to get their schedules or routines back in order. It really is very helpful to know that I'm not alone in some of these struggles. Guess what? YOU are not alone, either! LOL

I pray that all of us find a semblance of harmony this year, despite what is taking place this Tuesday. (When I googled this link, the first option was on MY!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So much to blog about, so little time....

I know, I know. I've been MIA for a while. Rest assured, it's not because I wanted to take time away from blogging. I'm constantly thinking of things I need/want to blog about and have taken tons of pictures to post, but I just can't find the time!! From New Year's resolutions, to creating 4-H journals, to the fact that I now share this computer with 3 daughters and a husband who have suddenly taken an interest in the online world, to....well, everything else!
I've painted the accent wall(s) in my living room. I went for a tomato red, but it's mostly orange. I'm going to try and see if I can have the paint tinted a bit more red and go over it again. After I'm satisfied with it I'll take pics and post them.

I did something this year that I NEVER do. I made resolutions.

1. To be healthier (as opposed to most "lose weight" resolutions)

2. To be more organized

3. To be a better homeschool mother and wife

Now...I've done these things in the past (although not as resolutions) and been successful, so I KNOW that I can do it. My problem is motivation. Every time I jump back on the health bandwagon I lose more and more motivation. It seems to get harder to stick with. I used to be proud of the fact that my family ate healthier than most and that I was fit. Fit is the farthest word from what would describe me now.
I exercised yesterday for the first time in, um.....A LONG STINKIN' TIME!!!! I hurt. My stomach hurt last night and I think it was simply because I used muscles that have been dormant for a year or two. I hate the roller coaster ride. Seriously. I'm 31 and beginning to wonder if I'm destined to spend my life on this horrible roller coaster. My weight has teetered up and down for 11-12 years now, ranging anywhere from 97lbs. to 145. (and that doesn't include pregnancy weights) Maybe this go round will be better. My aim is now good health and not a certain weight or size. I'll have to work hard not to focus on those 2 things, though.

Organization....if my home were more organized and to stay that way, I might actually feel more like exercising. When I'm putting off cleaning duties in order to exercise I just get mad at myself for not being able to get it all done in a day.

All that dissatisfaction leads to a grumpy mama/wife. No one likes that. I've realized recently that the laughter in our home has become an endangered species. That's no way to raise a family!!! So, I feel it's up to me to change the mood of our home. Like they say, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

Wish me luck in my endeavors and pray for me if you will.

At this point I think I will just bypass trying to catch up on posts that I've missed like Christmas and New Years, etc. I'll just pick up and go from here and hope that's okay with you all! :0)